Um.... Can We Talk About

THE BLACK SCORPION?

We've talked about it before, but Jim Herd-era WCW in 1990 was just hella weird.

 

They had immobile heroes such as Robocop and El Gigante running loose around the promotion, while the midcard babyfaces included such luminaries as Arachnaman, The Dynamic Dudes, The Juicer and P.N. News. On the heel side, they actually had the future Undertaker... only he was booked as a mid-level heel, similar to how the company booked, say, Dutch Mantel.

 

And when Sting won the NWA World Championship from Ric Flair that summer, the powers that be worked overtime to create the most fearsome villain anyone had ever seen. Enter... The Black Scorpion.

Hidden in shadows and speaking in a digitally-altered voice as though he was a disgraced tobacco industry executive or some shit... Scorp spoke of being a part of The Stinger's past, and explained he was now coming to WCW (the NWA) to get revenge.

 

A word on the "digitally-altered voice" aspect, if I may: These days, it's pretty much common knowledge that the character was voiced by Ole Anderson. But back in 1990 when I was just a teenager, even with relatively limited knowledge of who the hell Ole Anderson was... I knew that was his voice! 

 

In addition to playing a third-rate version of Dr. Claw, Mr. Minnesota Wrecking Crew was daring Sting to place him, dropping hints that they had crossed paths in California circa 1986.

 

When asked about who this dude was, Sting (whom, unlike yours truly, apparently never heard an Ole Anderson promo before) couldn't place him.... at the same time, he was TOTALLY FINE with a complete stranger getting an NWA World Title shot ahead of former champion Flair or challengers such as Sid Vicious, Barry Windham or The Juicer.

Sting's first "official" meeting with The Black Scorpion was at Clash of the Champion XII in Asheville (not Ashville as the chyron reads) North Carolina. Apparently Stinger was fighting a fake Scorpion, because a hooded Ole Anderson stood on the entrance ramp, prompting announcer Jim Ross to scream "It's The Black Scorpion!" as though he somehow knew the difference. Nothing was solved.

 

As the weeks wore on, The Black Scorpion's messages got stranger and stranger, purposely trying to throw Stinger off the trail. At one point, investigative journalist Gordon Solie was invited into Scorpion's secret underground lair (which I'm sure the ultra old-school "Dean of wrestling announcers" just loved doing) and was unable to piece together the puzzle.

 

At other times, random fans attacked Sting, presumably acting as minions of Scorpion. One event had 2 Cold Scorpion performing magic tricks on stage, as though he was David Copperfield or Phantasio.

 

As a side note.... I remember attending a WCW house show around this time in Toronto, one in which The Black Scorpion was battling Sting's good friend Flyin' Brian Pillman. But it absolutely wasn't the same Black Scorpion we saw each week on television -- it was some skinny, hooded jobber who, by the way, lost the match to Pillman. What a great way to present your number-one contender, WCW!

It got to the stage where Sting couldn't even complete his resthold-laden bouts with Beautiful Bobby Eaton without that damn Scorpion harassing him over the PA system.

 

Finally, a blowoff match was booked for Starrcade 1990 between Sting and Scorp where they would battle in a steel cage (with Dick the frickin' Bruiser as guest referee) and Scorpion would have to unmask if he lost. The "interesting" entrance for Scorpion showed him emerging from a spaceship for some reason and 100 percent, totally just being Ric Flair in a mask.

What the actual f*ck, WCW? Forget for a moment that Scorpion was suddenly wearing a COMPLETELY different mask and costume than he'd had previously. Ric Flair still wasn't a mysterious character from Sting's distant past -- they wrestled each other earlier than summer! It's like if WWE were to put Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar on television next week and claim it was the first time they'd competed together in several years.

 

To be fair (to Flair)... Naitch wasn't originally intended to be The Black Scorpion; it was a last-minute switch. The person who was supposed to be revealed as Scorp was Al Perez, a Texas-based grappler who had absolutely no past connection to Sting whatsoever.

 

So in other words, even if WCW's booking had gone perfectly according to their own plans, with an angle they painstakingly created, it STILL wouldn't have produced a satisfying conclusion for fans who were invested in the months-long storyline.

 

Way to go, Dr. Claw.

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Wrestling Merchandise and Memories podca
Wrestling Historian Mike Rickard